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Mood Foods

Food can be powerful emotional medicine.  Whether you're feeling anxious or angry, reaching for the right foods can have a noticeable effect on our mood.

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Feeling Anxious …

Reach for Brazil nuts - they're rich in selenium (1 ounce contains over 700% of your RDA).  Several studies have shown that low levels of selenium lead to increased anxiety and depression, while greater selenium intake has been linked to lower anxiety and an overall improvement in mood.  Other foods rich in selenium include: mushrooms, garlic and tuna.

Feeling Angry…

Try eating plantains - they have one of the highest concentrations of serotonin or a banana also packs a powerful punch of serotonin.  A study involving brain scans of subjects with decreased serotonin suggests that lower levels of the neurotransmitter inhibit the brain's ability to regulate anger, while normal levels can lead to calmer state.

Feeling Stressed …

Try snacking on vitamin-C rich bell peppers or citrus fruit - they help to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that is released in the body when you go into fight-or-flight mode.  Research shows that larges doses of vitamin C may actually stop stress before it starts by reducing the amount of cortisol released into the body.

Feeling Foggy…

Snack on colorful fruits like pineapple, cranberries or plums - they contain antioxidants that fight off free radicals that damage neurons in the brain (and potentially harm your memory).  For sharper focus, fill your plate with omega-3 fatty acids such as wild salmon.  The medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology reported that low levels of omega-3s not only decreased problem-solving skills and critical-thinking abilities but were linked to lower brain volume as well.  Omega-3s are an essential component of cell membranes - the more we have the better our cell neutrons function.

Feeling Agitated…

Cherry juice may help - a recent study found that eight ounces of cherry juice in the morning and evening before bed proved to be an effective sleep aid in adults.  Cherries are high in melatonin, the hormone that initiates your sleep cycle.  An increase in this hormone tells your brain it's time to wind down.

Mood Killers…

Things to avoid if you want to feel good:

Dehydration: According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, being only 1% below optimal hydration levels can result in headaches, loss of focus and fatigue.   Learn more about proper hydration and why drinking warm lemon water is beneficial to the body.

Trans fats: A recent study published in Plos One suggests that eating trans fats may have a significant link to greater aggression and irritability.  Research suggests that eating trans fats may prevent the formation of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to improve mood.  Learn more about how to avoid unhealthy fats.

Refined sugars: You may get a quick jolt of energy but when your blood sugar inevitably crashes, you will be left feeling irritated and tired.  Learn more about the truth about sugar.

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